Tuesday, 25 September 2012
My Double Geraniums cushion cover, looking very summery in the October issue of Marie Claire. You can get your own spot of summer from We Heart This.
I spent Saturday printing ribbon at the Central Library in town, and it was great fun. I met loads of people, and chatted about printing non-stop.
It was so interesting how many people said "Oh! It's like potato prints!" Exactly.
I adore demystifying things, I really do. One man asked a lot of questions about the process, and ended with "But what if I can't draw?" so I showed him some of my geometric blocks and said "Just start with shapes." Someone else asked how to turn a block into a pattern - I said "Just repeat it: anything becomes a pattern if you repeat it." She grinned!
Lots of people wanted to know where they could buy the printing blocks, and when I said I made mine, they stepped closer to the table and got really interested.
And lots and lots of people asked about classes. So, you know, I'm thinking about it.
But a really strange thing happened when people asked how they could find out more and I directed them to tutorials on my blog. Some actually stepped away and mumbled "Oh, computers.... no, I don't do that." Others looked very disappointed and insisted that they needed to be shown how to do things - they needed classes.
I was quite gobsmacked. It has never occurred to me that anyone would lack confidence in their ability to learn things. A lack of information or resources or time, yes, but if those are available, to feel that you can't make use of them? To feel that you can't teach yourself how to do things? I can't imagine what kind of teachers these people had (or didn't have, obviously). I can understand feeling left behind in a class, or being taught badly by a lazy teacher, or struggling with badly written instructions - those things have happened to me. But to have info at your disposal, and to be able to puzzle through it at your own pace, and still to feel that you can't even start..... that you need an expert to show you....
I attended some talks at the Open Book Festival this weekend too (I saw Neal Stephenson! Neal Stephenson! Phew!) and one of the topics briefly touched on was scientific literacy. The ability to judge and compare information, to understand processes, to follow reasoning, to analyse. To do research.
Now, learning to stamp cloth isn't going to save lives, or educate people about climate change, or even really enable anyone to generate a decent income for themselves. But perhaps learning that they can learn something by themselves might be valuable.
So while I am thinking about teaching classes, I'm aware that for it to be worth my while, classes will have to cost something. And while I do give away everything I'd tell you in a class, for free, on my blog, I'm aware that nooo.... computers... no.
I'm hatching a plan. Watch this space. (It's alright, you can blink, you won't miss it. It will be a while in the making.)